Liberal Places

Amanda Hess has a very good article over at TBD that a lot of people in the blogosphere are talking about. When I asked the opinion of a friend of the blog, who lives in a neighborhood near where the incident occurred, this is what he wrote:
The article exposes some of the bigoted, racist violence that festers beneath DC's self-congratulatory liberal veneer.
This raises an interesting question. What makes a person, or a place, liberal? It's true that Washington DC votes for Democratic candidates over Republicans mightily in every election; and it's generally accepted that Republicans have no place in local politics. But does that alone make nearly everyone in the District a liberal?

(from joseph a on Flickr)

Voting Democratic doesn't make someone a liberal; and similarly, voting Republican doesn't make someone a conservative. These distinctions ought to be better drawn out, because they matter. Looking at past presidential election results or who is representing a district in Congress tells you something about that place, without a doubt; but it alone can't tell the whole story.